DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: “Pilot, Part 1” Review

As the third installment in The CW‘s live-action DC universe, Legends Of Tomorrow has been hotly anticipated, and having finally premiered last night, now is an excellent time to dive into what might be the one of the most accurate representations of a classic comic-book tone out of print media.

Legends Of Tomorrow follows 22nd century “Time-Master” Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) as he assembles a team of supporting characters from the “CWverse” (Sara Lance/White Canary and Ray Palmer/The Atom of Arrow in addition to Professor Martin Stein & Jefferson Jackson/Firestorm, Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl, Carter Hall/Hawkman, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, and Mick Rory/Heatwave of The Flash) to perform missions throughout time in an effort to stop immortal warlord Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) before he can complete his conquest of the Earth in 2166.

Just from that log-line, it’s clear Legends Of Tomorrow will be loaded to the brim with Silver-Age comic book goodness, and I would argue this works in the show’s favor and to it’s detriment. This goofy, adventurous tone successfully establishes LOT as the entertaining romp it is clearly setting out to be. However, the technical requirements for this sort of explicit comic book tone expand beyond the production restrictions placed on the show by it’s cable TV home, and depending on your viewpoint, these low-budget effects either add to the cheesy, B-grade value of the show or merely serve as an eye-sore (I am planted firmly in the latter camp).

In what is hopefully a case of growing pains typically found in television pilots, much of the LOT premiere came across as an exposition dump, and a somewhat redundant one at that, given how much set-up for the series has been planted in Arrow and The Flash. Granted, this was perhaps unavoidable, given the sheer volume of characters, each with their own baggage, and at least a semblance of explanation is required for uninformed viewers. While balancing nine characters of more or less equal billing was always going to be challenging, LOT handles it in a deft, if a bit disjointed, fashion, with each character’s personality organically shining through and getting a moment in the spotlight. Additionally, the revelation in the last quarter of the episode that Hunter recruited the team not because they are regarded as legendary heroes in his time, but because they actually left little impact on history and so their deaths/disappearance would not irreparably damage the timeline was handled well, explaining why these secondary, otherwise unconnected characters were assembled to fight a threat this grave. 
Overall, while the Legends Of Tomorrow pilot is far from perfect, it demonstrates a fair amount of potential and successfully sets itself apart from its CWverse brethren.
Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

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